Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Abusive adults can be evicted by parents: HC

Adults who abuse their parents while living in their house can be evicted from the property, the Delhi high court has held.

The court specified that the house need not be self-acquired or owned by the parents. As long as they are in legal possession of the property, abusive sons and daughters can be evicted.

This plugs a gap in a 2007 law that had left it to state governments to frame rules to protect the life and property of senior citizens.

Interpreting provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 (MWPSCA), Justice Manmohan ruled that the senior citizens' maintenance tribunal "can issue an eviction order to ensure that senior citizens live peacefully in their house without being forced to accommodate a son who physically assaults and mentally harasses them or threatens to dispossess them."

HC found that Delhi government had allowed a senior citizen to complain to district authorities to evict abusive children only from a self-acquired property, even though the Act make no such distinction and gives protection to parents even in a rented accommodation.

"Consequently, this court directs government of NCT of Delhi to amend/formulate its rules framed under Section 32... as well as an action plan under Section 22(2) of the Act, in conformity with this judgment," the HC directed.

It was hearing an appeal filed by an alcoholic man, challenging the tribunal's order to evict him from a Civil Lines residence where his parents live.

After relying on various precedents, HC said that "the 2007 Act, amongst other remedies, provides for eviction of adult children in cases of parental abuse like in the present case" and ordered the local SHO to ensure the man was evicted from the house immediately.

In the first round of litigation, HC had brokered an agreement between the two sons (second son had moved out later) and the parents who were living in an accommodation provided to them by a private trust where the father worked.

As per the settlement, the sons were allowed to live in the father's ancestral property in Haryana but one of the siblings backed off from the agreement and challenged his eviction.

While refusing to re-examine the settlement, HC however delved into the legal issue, namely, whether the 2007 Act provides the sole remedy of monetary maintenance by children/relative or does it also provide for eviction of adult children in cases of parental abuse.

The court then zeroed in on Section 23 of the Act to hold that it empowers the maintenance tribunal to do full justice in cases of elderly abuse.

The tribunal has "the jurisdiction to not only pass an eviction order but also to issue directions to give effect to the same under Section 23 of the Act 2007", the court observed.

It pointed out that Section 23 of the Act uses the expression "transfer", ostensibly to offer the widest possible protection to the senior citizens. It said property rights of elderly parents can't be restricted to self-acquired or owned house.

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